Stories behind Kenilworth's 'Oldest Lock-up' published in new book

The Stone House in Kenilworth
The Stone House in Kenilworth

Two life-long Kenilworth residents and friends have published a book on one of the oldest houses in town.

Graham Gould and Peter James have jointly authored the book entitled "The Stone House: Kenilworth's Oldest Lock-up".

The Stone House is located in Bridge Street (then called Townpool) at the corner of School Lane (then called Pepper Alley).

Peter said: "We decided to tackle The Stone House when it changed hands and the new owners asked their neighbours about its history. They were put on to Graham as being Kenilworth's 'Mr Deeds' and when we saw the deeds we thought it was worth having a go.

"We had already written up The Institute next door that in 1860 had taken over the old school building which also owned the house.

"The house pre-dates this, being 16th century and unique as being perhaps the oldest stone-built house in town."

The house is the only complete and still lived-in stone house of the Tudor period in town.

Graham added: "When owned by the trustees of the old school (built in 1836) it for some years housed the Parish Constable (Samuel Dingley) and old Kenilworth folk knew it as 'Dingley's Den' or the Lock-up.

"Not a prison as such but a place to hold those arrested until they could be tried or sent to Wawick."

The Stone House later became the home for a succession of schoolteachers who taught at the school and after 1860 at the new school (now the fire station) in School Lane.

In the 18th century the house was extended and later partitioned to make two houses in which, amongst others, lived carpenters, shoemakers and a sweet shop lady.

The two dwellings were later reunited and are now a single residence.

The book is on sale at the Kenilworth Books shop for £5.

The two friends, Graham and Peter, have written nine books working together on local history of Kenilworth.

One of the other books published by the two friends, includes “Hill House and Rosemary: Two Kenilworth Houses," which chronicles the history of a site on Upper Rosemary Hill featuring two large houses called Hill House and Rosemary.